The ITAM Review

News, reviews and resources for worldwide ITAM, SAM and Licensing professionals.

Are SAM tools ready for the cloud?

The ITAM Review team attended the European version of Gartner’s ITAM Summit in London last week for great networking and ITAM and IT procurement led presentations.

Gartner Analyst Stewart Buchanan led an interesting session on the future of SAM tools where he argued that the future was about control and not inventory.

Stewart Buchanan, Gartner

Stewart Buchanan, Gartner

I enjoy Stewart Buchanan’s presentations, in fact one of Stewart’s provocative rants a few years ago led to the Campaign for Clear Licensing being formed.

It got me thinking about the gaps in current SAM tools when it comes to Cloud based software. I agree with Stewart that Inventory is just about discovering potential liabilities – the future is about controlling things on the front end before they are consumed.

I think there is a gaping great hole in the capabilities of current SAM tools when it comes to managing cloud-based software (See table below).

CLICK TO ENLARGE

CLICK TO ENLARGE

Specifically, leading SAM tools have begun to track cloud based usage via their installed agents. But this only tells half of the story – what if I’m accessing cloud based systems via personal, corporate and other devices – Identity Management will be really useful here (use case: HR notifies IT to remove an AD account because of Staff leaving, AD removal also removes 15 passwords and cloud based services and re-harvests users via a SAM tool. Optimization, good governance, and efficient spend don’t go away with the cloud.)

This week’s trend is user-based licensing, the future will have many more. Will user based licensing capture enough revenue for software publishers in a Internet of Things world? Internet connected devices are already outnumbering humans (much like rats and sheep) – if in the future I want to sync my office diary with my car, fridge, fitness band and home energy system (you never know), will I need a license for all of those things?

Also noteworthy from the two-day summit was a session on Cloud contracts and governance from Martin Prendergast.

Martin provided a useful session on the risks of cloud contracts and recommendations for good governance. These included:

  • Price caps on cloud contracts
  • SLA’s must be meaningful with workable penalties associated with them (financial)
  • Make measurement periods for SLAs match billing
  • Options to cancel for repeated breaches
  • Remove onus on customer to report penalties
  • Stop contract terms being charged at short notice
  • Confirm support fees

Thanks to our friends at Gartner for inviting us. See you again in 2015.

About Martin Thompson

Martin is owner and founder of The ITAM Review, an online resource for worldwide ITAM professionals. The ITAM Review is best known for its weekly newsletter of all the latest industry updates, LISA training platform, Excellence Awards and conferences in UK, USA and Australia.

Martin is also the founder of ITAM Forum, a not-for-profit trade body for the ITAM industry created to raise the profile of the profession and bring an organisational certification to market. On a voluntary basis Martin is a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the ITAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770.

He is also the author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management. In addition, Martin developed the PITAM training course and certification.

Prior to founding the ITAM Review in 2008 Martin worked for Centennial Software (Ivanti), Silicon Graphics, CA Technologies and Computer 2000 (Tech Data).

When not working, Martin likes to Ski, Hike, Motorbike and spend time with his young family.

Connect with Martin on LinkedIn.

5 Comments

  1. Gord Watts says:

    Great piece, Martin!

  2. Rory Canavan says:

    This was the photo I missed on Twitter! Salient points Martin – the drive to the cloud will make contract experts out of everyone in SAM.

  3. A short response to your headline questions is: No and they will not be ready anytime soon.

    So far SAM tools to me are all about inventorying hardware and applying license entitlements to that baseline hardware inventory to produce the all too familiar ELP and carry you forwards to software license optimisation. That is how SAM tools are marketed and sold (more or less).

    The new challenge is ‘Cloud’ and what it really means. Firstly, can we define what cloud means to SAM? What are we consuming…is it an application accessed through a web browser such as Oracle E-Business suite or SAP?..or do we mean delivering Citrix based virtual desktops, virtual infrastructure or even licensing O365 and Adobe Creative Cloud.

    In those three examples there are already licensing problems and I’ve yet to see an application that can monitor usage, gather inventory and manage entitlements against both of these. Furthermore, how can an agent or agentless based inventory capture cloud based applications? Simply capturing that an end user opens up a URL is not even getting close.

    The best* I have seen at the moment to manage consumption of ‘Cloud’ software/applications is guess work based on estimated employee count or AD accounts but that is similar to licking your finger, sticking it up in the air and seeing which way the wind is blowing (I know many consultants will disagree with this but I’m simply not convinced).

    * not sure why I wrote best here as it’s clearly not the best. I really should say the only option at the moment…..

    🙂

  4. Anonymous SAM bloke says:

    p.s. that’s not me in the above post, no idea who or where that image came from. I’m much better looking than that 😉

  5. Anonymous SAM bloke says:

    A short response to your headline questions is a big resounding “No!” and they will not be ready anytime soon.

    So far SAM tools to me are all about inventorying hardware and applying license entitlements to that baseline hardware inventory to produce the all too familiar ELP and carry you forwards to software license optimisation. That is how SAM tools are marketed and sold (more or less).

    The new challenge is ‘Cloud’ and what it really means. Firstly, can we define what cloud means to SAM? What are we consuming…is it an application accessed through a web browser such as Oracle E-Business suite or SAP?..or do we mean delivering Citrix based virtual desktops, virtual infrastructure or even licensing O365 and Adobe Creative Cloud.

    In those three examples there are already licensing problems and I’ve yet to see an application that can monitor usage, gather inventory and manage entitlements against both of these. Furthermore, how can an agent or agentless based inventory capture cloud based applications? Simply capturing that an end user opens up a URL is not even getting close.

    The best* I have seen at the moment to manage consumption of ‘Cloud’ software/applications is guess work based on estimated employee count or AD accounts but that is similar to licking your finger, sticking it up in the air and seeing which way the wind is blowing (I know many consultants will disagree with this but I’m simply not convinced).

    * not sure why I wrote best here as it’s clearly not the best. I really should say the only option at the moment…..

    🙂

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